Image: Howard Wise/JPI

In his chambers, Judge McMullen asks Ridge what exactly he wants him to do. Ridge tells him to rule against Bill, and asks, “Do we have an understanding?” The judge balks at what he’s asking him to do. Ridge replies he’s not asking him anything – he’s telling him this mother needs custody of her son. The judge feels this goes way beyond a favor. Ridge sneers that Bill is scum and Will needs a proper guardian he can look up to. McMullen says it’s not that simple, but Ridge disagrees. The judge worries he’s risking the end of his career. Ridge hinges on the fact that he’s not saying no, and thanks him. Once alone, the judge wrestles with his conscience.

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At Spencer Publications, Bill’s frustrated by Justin’s advice not to try and buy the judge, but decides he’ll take it. Brooke arrives, so Justin exits. She brings up the hearing and hates that it’s come to this. Bill appeals to her to try one more time to convince Katie that this will only hurt Will. Brooke feels wrong meeting with him like this. Bill reminds her she’s just trying to protect Will, but realizes she’s concerned about the Dressmaker. Bill acknowledges he made mistakes with Will, but he shouldn’t lose custody. Brooke assures Bill he’ll get a chance to speak to the judge and say what Will means to him – father’s have rights too. Bill thanks her. Later, Justin can only find one traffic violation on Craig McMullen though there’s a load of other boring information. He’ll keep digging. Bill says Brooke has him thinking positive – he’s grateful to her. Once alone, Bill looks at a photo of Will.

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In the Forrester Creations design office, Katie’s daunted by the paperwork Carter’s given her for the custody suit. Thorne interjects that they should get married before the hearing. Katie’s taken aback, but Thorne argues the judge will be comparing Bill’s home to Katie’s home. Carter points out that shouldn’t affect custody, but it can’t hurt. Thorne tells Katie, “Let’s do it. Let’s be the family Will needs.” Carter learns that Will has had a positive reaction to Thorne and feels it could work in their favor. Katie recalls that Bill had been disappointing Will for months when Thorne came in and gave him a man to count on. She’s decided fatherhood and Bill don’t fit – he’s ruined his relationships with Wyatt and Liam, and he’s doing it with Will as well. Carter supports the marriage and thinks Bill’s lifestyle is no comparison to what they can offer. After, Katie and Thorne canoodle. Katie cringes at the idea having a husband strengthens her case, but she’s going to do it anyway. Why should they wait? She wants to go into the custody hearing and show the judge they’ve a solid, stable family. They joke about finding her a dress before Thorne turns serious about Darla and Ally’s deaths – had he known what was waiting for him, he would have come home sooner. He gets to be a husband and father again, and says, “Thank you.” In the boardroom, Brooke joins Ridge, who starts in about Will deserving better than Spencer. Brooke notes the judge will decide. Ridge intones, “Yes he will.” Brooke feels they can’t take Bill’s son from him. Ridge retorts, “The hell they can’t.”

Next on The Bold and the Beautiful:

Bill pays Katie a visit.